The New York Jets, fresh off ending their 3 game losing streak with a win at home against the Raiders, travel to Carolina to face the 9-4 Carolina Panthers. The Jets need a win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, let’s get to know the opponent that will line up against Gang Green on Sunday.
Week 15: Carolina Panthers, 9-4 last week: loss @ New Orleans, 31-13
2013 Offensive Rankings: 17th in Points Per game (22.9 ppg), 26th in total yards (320 per game), 29th in passing yards (191.6 per game), 29th in passing attempts (30.7 per game), 14th in passing touchdowns (20), 15th in interceptions thrown (11), 23rd in yards gained per attempt (5.7), 8th in rushing yards (129.2 per game), 5th in rushing attempts (30.7 per game), 9th in rushing touchdowns (12), 17th in yards per carry (4.2).
Overview: The Panthers are coming off a beatdown at the hands of the New Orleans Saints and were provided bulletin board material by Santonio Holmes this week. The funny thing is that Holmes isn’t the first Jet to take a shot at the Panthers; Antwan Barnes remarked after Mario Williams’s 4.5 sack game against Carolina “well, it was against the Panthers.” They are currently 9-4. I don’t think the Jets should take them lightly, but with a rematch with the Saints looming next week, this could be a trap game for the Panthers. That, coupled with a one dimensional offense led by a young QB, sets up the following matchup.
Cam Newton has thrown for under 200 yards in six of the last eight games for the Panthers, but the Panthers are 5-1 in those games. Cam has completed 62% of his passes on the year, 20 TDs, and 11 INTs. He’s, also, part of the Panthers rushing attack but he’s decreased the amount of rushes this season in comparison to the first two seasons; 88 attempts for 495 yards and 6 touchdowns this year in comparison to 125+ carries for 700 yards and 8+ TDs during his first two years. Steve Smith and Greg Olsen are Newton’s biggest weapons in the passing game, as they have hauled in 60 and 58 receptions respectively. Brandon Lafell and Ted Ginn have combined for 76 receptions, 1027 yards, and 9 TDs. The Panthers offensive line has allowed 36 sacks, but only 8 at home.
The Panthers 8th ranked rushing attack, since it’s depending less on Cam Newton, has leaned more on DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert. Jonathan Stewart has battled injuries, so Williams (164 carries, 662 yards, 2 TDs) and Tolbert (81 carries, 313 yards, 4 TDs) have picked up the slack.
TE Greg Olsen (Probable)
OT Jordan Gross (Probable)
RB Jonathan Stewart (Out)
2013 Defensive Rankings: 1st in points allowed (14.4 per game), 2nd in yards allowed (296.2 per game), 5th in passing defense (216.8 per game), 2nd in passing touchdowns allowed (13), 5th in interceptions (16), 8th in yards per completion allowed (5.7), 1st in rushing defense (79.2 per game), 4th in yards per carry allowed (3.8), 1st in rushing touchdowns allowed (3), and 4th in total turnovers forced (26).
Overview: The weak link in the Panthers defense, according to Santonio Holmes, is actually the 5th ranked pass defense in the league. The Panthers secondary is led by underrated free safety Michael Mitchell (4 INTs, 2.5 sacks, 40 tackles). 12 of the team’s 16 INTs come from the secondary. The leader of the entire defense is MLB Luke Kuechly, who leads the team with 73 tackles, and he’s hauled in 3 INTs, 6 passes defended, and 1 sack. Thomas Davis is second on the team with 68 tackles and 4 sacks. Defensive Ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy have combined for 16 of the team’s 40 sacks. Captain Munnerlyn and Drayton Florence lead the team in passes defended with 10 and 8 respectively.
DT Dwan Edwards (Probable)
DE Charles Johnson (Questionable)
Ted Ginn is the team’s primary kick returner and punt returner. Ginn is averaging 13.2 yards per punt return and 23.4 yards per kick return. Graham Gano is 20-23 on the year with all 3 of his msises coming from 30-49 yards. Brad Nortman is averaging 47.3 yards per punt, including a long of 72 yards.
The Jets lead the season series 3-2. Rex is 1-0 against the Panthers as the Jets head coach, with a 17-6 win in 2009.